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Is Waldorf too "airy fairy" for some kids? - Page 3

post #41 of 114
I don't have time to type much now but I want to agree with Pete that yes, Waldorf is definitely to airy fairy for some children. Just as public school is too rigid, etc. for some children. But as he said, the real issue is whether it is right for your children or not - and you'll really have to research the school in your area, talk to teachers and other parents if possible, to see how he'd fit in.

I believe you mentioned that it is a public school. This means that you should encounter far less issues in terms of restrictions on and expectations of the family and home life than you would at a private Waldorf school. For example, where I work, there is no "TV talk" at school but aside from encouraging media to be limited, parents decide what's best for their children. Some kids in my class watch nothing, others watch a fair amount and play video games. While the school encourages healthy lunches in reusable containers, etc. some kids have organic sprouted wheat bread with homemade soup and others have gogurt blue yogurt tubes and cheese-its. There are no guns allowed at school - pretend or imaginary - in play or in drawings. But other than that, you should see the robots in their drawings! The only thing they are not allowed to play is babies for several reasons: 1) It gets too noisy, 2) Then children are crawling all over the floor, and 3) The teacher feels they are getting a little too old for that now. But mainly it's 1 and 2 that caused the ban on babies. They can still use the dolls for babies.

I also agree that it doesn't make any sense why dragons would be allowed but dinosaurs would be. Neither exist now, and at least dinosaurs did - you can see the fossils and go on archeological digs, etc. Same thing with robots or fairies. How is living in a world of gnomes and fairies any more real than robots, dinosaurs, and cyber pets? Not to mention that while violent play is stopped, the Grimm's stories are full of torture and horrible physical endings for various characters.

But back to your original question, I think that you'll find that the public school is a lot less affected by Anthroposophy than the private schools, and that's where you'd run into the troubles that Pete has. (I was raised in a similar religious organization, so I know exactly what he's talking about.) But since the school has to follow state laws and not all of the teachers will be Anthroposophists, you'll find more flexibility and more ideas and this may end up working out quite well for your family.
post #42 of 114
Some schools will ask you to sign a no media policy, ours does not. A lot of parents choose Waldorf because they do not want TV, videos, computer games, movies, etc. in their children's lives and they are looking for other families who want the same thing. We have felt far more pressure from other families to keep the no media policy than I ever felt from any of the teachers.

My son played dinosaurs (he has a ton of the Carnegie dinosaurs and knew all their names and which period they were from) it was never a problem at our school. My son was obessed with trains. Same thing, not a problem.

For what it is worth, my husband and I are both engineers and one of the reasons we chose Waldorf was because of all the one-sided engineers we work with. Our son shows every indication that he too will be an engineer like his parents and his two grandfathers. It has never been a problem. In fact, he thoroughly enjoyed building in the sandbox and using the trestles in Kindergarten. He has always loved the handwork. In 3rd grade, he loved the house building and 4th grade he is loving the map making.

During his 7 years of Waldorf we have only been asked to do two things: 1) read more than fact books to him at bedtime and 2) not listen to the radio or music in the mornings before school. The first was asked because that is all he ever wanted. Facts, facts, facts. So his teachers requested that we read him one fact book and one storybook. It expanded his horizons and now he thoroughly enjoys both. The no radio or music in the mornings had to do with overstimulation.

I have never had a teacher take away my child's cookie. We were asked to not send sugary stuff to school in Kindergarten but a cookie ever so often was okay. In grade school it isn't even an issue.

My kids were allowed to play with stick guns outside at Kindergarten. No stick guns inside but the teachers didn't have a problem with them outside. During the buildup to the Iraq war and after it started, there was a lot of gun play that died out over time. Obviously the kids were processing something and the teachers recognized this. They kept an eye on it but they didn't ban it.

Personally, Waldorf is not for everyone but my son is not airy-fairy and it has been great for him. It has made him more well rounded. If I had gone the gifted school route as laid out by the public school, he would have been a total egghead like most of the engineers I work with. That is not what I wanted for my children.
post #43 of 114
Thread Starter 
Thanks Rhonwyn, for sharing some of your school's policies and for the others of you who did as well

Many of those don't sound any different than the things public school teachers ask of you. There is no weapon play allowed at ds's school and they ask you to bring healthy snacks as well. They also disallow certain types of pretend play, for similar reasons that the poster who mentioned the baby play said. Star Wars or Incredibles play isn't allowed because it gets out of hand and kids might end up hurt or upset. My nephew's teacher also asked his parents to talk with him about not talking about video games to the other children because it was hurting him socially. All he talked about was video games that the other children didn't play and no one knew how to relate to him. My ds doesn't have that problem though. Anyway, I understand and could get behind policies like that, that seem to make good sense
post #44 of 114
When we did our earl;y childhood program, one of the children was totally into Mickey Mouse and DW. All her block play was about her trip and all her art work with the watercolors ended up being 'Mickey Mouse'. it was never an issue at all. the teacher was older, trained traditionally, talked about keeoing our kids heads covered etc., but the M Mouse kidlet was never an issue.

Those who wanted to play, played, and those kiddies who had no interest, played something else. I did this group for two years and it was really nice, and the teacher was very nurturing and accepting. She fed us and gave us tea.

She did wear those waldorf skirts and aprons, but she was totally cool.
post #45 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by momsgotmilk4two
The thing I wondered with the dinosaurs, is that the teacher described what he had as a "fixation" on dinosaurs. Why is fixation on gnomes and knights and fairies good, but fixation on dinosaurs bad?
I don't know really. Waldorf ed incorporates this idea of cultural recapitulation (akin to that of an earlier philosophical theorist Herbart, who Steiner did know of), where each individual is thought to contain a 'germ' or seed so to speak of cultural memory. Cultural development is a motif, so to speak, for individual development and early childhood is thought of as the stage of the folk consciousness, thus the fairy tales and so on. This changes as the child gets older. Folk consciousness is left behind in 2nd grade. This is a philosophical view of the human as a cultural being first and foremost, rather than primarily an animal being. In this kind of framework, where early childhood consciousness is a recapitulation of the folk consciousness, folk images (including the fairies, gnomes, and witches) are sort of etched storybook moral archetypes. That's one reason why Waldorf ed is so comfortable with them.

Whether or not these images are worse, better, or the same as dinosaur images for children today, I don't know. If my child's teacher felt strongly about it one way or another, I would expect him or her to explain why. Waldorf teachers aren't supposed to simply follow a Waldorf script, so there's no reason at all why a parent should feel 'out of line' for asking for the teacher's own reasons for this or that, including dinosaurs. Ideally, the teacher and the parent should be partners, this means each should listen honestly and well-meaningly to the other. I truly believe that if a teacher can't explain it, then the teacher doesn't understand it either. I don't mean that you have to accept the explanation, just that they need to explain why they're asking this of you. As a parent, you don't have to defend yourself, but I think it's helpful to the teacher if you can share your own insights or views on a given issue.

Quote:
And as far as marketing goes, Waldorf markets certain toys too. I've noticed a whole lot of websites out there that sell Waldorf toys. I don't have a problem with it, but they *are* promoting material "things". I didn't want to bring this up with my friend because I didn't want to put her on the spot or make her defensive, it just left me with more questions than answers
There is too much "marketing" of Waldorf 'approved' toys, I agree. In my experience, this is parent energy, not school energy. We have Waldorf dolls now that come with as many outfits as a Barbie!

Margaret Gorman (sp?) wrote an article called "Confessions of a Waldorf Parent". She was a Waldorf parent (and so-called mainstream ed teacher) who later became an anthroposophist and a Waldorf teacher, but I think it's a pretty unflinching account of her journey. She winces as she recounts what she calls her 'pure' phase, where she seems to have driven her own family nearly insane with her episode of 99.9% pure Waldorf militantism. What she ultimately realized was that Waldorf really is about people, it's not about dogma nor about 'stuff' (including absence of it!).

Last night I had dinner with a friend of mine (100% non-waldorf, don't know that's she's ever heard of it) who is going to be a grandmother any day now. Her daughter, the mother-to-be, is a public school teacher (several years now) who when in college went through the standard curriculum of child psychology, child care, nutrition, and various unsundry expert-know-it-all indoctrination, and is currently suffering her own *pure* phase. At her own baby shower, she heard that her mother (my friend) occasionally gave her chocolate milk in her baby bottle when she was an infant, and she was mortified to hear this. Here she is, days from giving birth to her own child, and she's ready to strike her own mother from the list of approved caregivers for her soon-to-be-born baby. Over chocolate milk. I'm sure she'll eventually come to her senses ..... real life has a way of mellowing people, giving them a healthier sense of what ultimately matters and what doesn't.

I've been blessed because my children had human teachers, not insecure purists. I've always felt respected, and there's almost nothing Waldorfy about my home. Fellow parents have been a major irritant to me at times, but not the Waldorf teachers. Even the TV thing, which has always been a big deal to the teachers, has been dealt with enormous graciousness. One teacher did lower himself to beg once at a parent meeting , but with 100% sincerity he said he can't tell parents what to do, that each person must decide what's best in total freedom. Another teacher passed a sign-up list around the class for parents who did not want their own children to watch TV and movies at others homes simply so that parents could better respect one another's parenting choices.

My earlier post seems to be gone now where I itemized some on the 'what else might we be asked' question. In my experience, a lot is *suggested*, very little is *required*. In my experience, this is largely a result of parents who are eager for these suggestions. Almost too much so. It should be a partnership, not a dependancy.

In my experience, the Waldorf teachers give a lot of advice but they don't tell you what to do. I was a long time parent before I became a Waldorf parent, and as I think back I often wonder how I would have reacted to this advice if it was my first experience with teacher-parent relations. I didn't view the advice as 'judgemental', and felt perfectly comfortable in my own self to take it or leave it if I didn't agree with it or if it just wasn't workable for one reason or another. Oftentimes I didn't take the advice simply because I didn't get it then, but would do looking back now, in hindsight. It helps me understand now why they gave the advice, that's all.

So unfortunately I don't think there's an easy answer to your question. Not all schools are the same. Not all teachers are the same, or maybe they are but just at a different 'phase' at any given time that may or may not mesh well with the phase we're going through as parents. And a lot depends on the make-up of the parent body that happen to enroll the same time you do. Just in our one school, each class is truly *very* unique from another. My own boys have two completely different Waldorf experiences.

I hope this makes sense. So much about Waldorf is really about the people involved as opposed to some strict formula.

Linda
post #46 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
. In my experience, a lot is *suggested*, very little is *required*. In my experience, this is largely a result of parents who are eager for these suggestions. Almost too much so. It should be a partnership, not a dependancy.

Linda

Linda I think you captured quite eloquently one of the issues about parents needing to be responsible for what they are signing up for, and being mature enough to weed through things. When I chose public school for my own children, I had to make sure I knew the educational philosophy of the country, my state, and the local school in particular before choosing it. The same thing seems true for Waldorf and ANY education.

Another thought--last night I had dinner with a mom who has her daughter in Waldorf education. We talked about Waldorf education philosophy and the spiritual underpinnings. Because she is a mature grown-up, she simply takes what she needs from the philosophy/anthroposophy and leaves the rest. She talks to her daughter about these values as well.

I think people can get into a "fundamentalism" or "pure" stage with Waldorf or anything else, just as you describe. I believe it is a sign of maturity when someone begins to see all the gray areas between the black and white.
post #47 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaCl
I don't know really. Waldorf ed incorporates this idea of cultural recapitulation (akin to that of an earlier philosophical theorist Herbart, who Steiner did know of), where each individual is thought to contain a 'germ' or seed so to speak of cultural memory. Cultural development is a motif, so to speak, for individual development and early childhood is thought of as the stage of the folk consciousness, thus the fairy tales and so on. This changes as the child gets older. Folk consciousness is left behind in 2nd grade. This is a philosophical view of the human as a cultural being first and foremost, rather than primarily an animal being. In this kind of framework, where early childhood consciousness is a recapitulation of the folk consciousness, folk images (including the fairies, gnomes, and witches) are sort of etched storybook moral archetypes. That's one reason why Waldorf ed is so comfortable with them.
This is very interesting Linda. Do you have a source for this material? I'd love to read about it - especially the "folk consciousness" stuff.

Thanks!

Pete
post #48 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
Another thought--last night I had dinner with a mom who has her daughter in Waldorf education. We talked about Waldorf education philosophy and the spiritual underpinnings. Because she is a mature grown-up, she simply takes what she needs from the philosophy/anthroposophy and leaves the rest. She talks to her daughter about these values as well.
I wonder if children have the maturity to do the same. I know parents who have to supplement (undermine) what the school teaches their kids (because it is wrong) from time to time. If you're not 100% on board with the philosophy, children know it and that affects their own attitude about school. It is not a situation I would wish on anyone.

Pete
post #49 of 114
"Folk Consciousness" refers to the "folk spirits" Steiner said influenced and watched over each culture/country. They are a part of the spiritual hierarchy of fairy/gnome folk, humans, angels, folk spirits, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, etc. up to God.

So, by saying the children have a "folk consciousness" until the age of seven (or 9 in relation to the "I am" consciousness) and dealing with them within this mindset or framework is interweaving Christianity/Judaism/Islam (all who believe and speak of this same hierarchy and beings) into the life of the child.
post #50 of 114
Lauren,

I agree with your last post and the maturity statement. This is the same thing Eugene Shcwartz said about people in the Waldorf movement and Anthroposophists (which by the way, he included to be anyone working in a Waldorf School=inseparable).
post #51 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by beansavi
"Folk Consciousness" refers to the "folk spirits" Steiner said influenced and watched over each culture/country. They are a part of the spiritual hierarchy of humans, angels, folk spirits, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, etc.
Yes, that's what I believe Steiner meant by this - more of a "spiritual nationalism" - not something having to do with fairy tales or dinosaurs.
Quote:
So, by saying the children have a folk consciousness until the age of seven and dealing with them within this mindset or framework is interweaving Christianity/Judaism/Islam (all who believe and speak of this same hierarchy and beings) into the life of the child.
I think this is why Waldorf believes all children belong in Waldorf - i.e. the notion that Waldorf is not too airy fairy for some kids. If children are thought to have a folk consciousness (and not - or only partially developed or incarnated human consciousness) until the age of seven, then that would perhaps explain it. Steiner felt this way about other things too. There was, for example, a spiritual element that connected all things that might be considered a chair. Chairs were bound together by their chair characteristics... 3 legged stools could be a sub-category of chairs. He looked at these things as we look at nationalism. That's why I was asking Linda for a source for her comments, they don't appear to be correct or complete to me.

Pete
post #52 of 114
See my updates on my last post for clarity.
post #53 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Out of school activities may be discouraged at young ages - especially soccer and martial arts classes.
Pete
Do you happen to know why they especially don't encourage soccer or martial arts classes in particular? How are these activities any more anti-Waldorf than other sports or activities?
post #54 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete
Yes, that's what I believe Steiner meant by this - more of a "spiritual nationalism" - not something having to do with fairy tales or dinosaurs.

I think this is why Waldorf believes all children belong in Waldorf - i.e. the notion that Waldorf is not too airy fairy for some kids. If children are thought to have a folk consciousness (and not - or only partially developed or incarnated human consciousness) until the age of seven, then that would perhaps explain it. Steiner felt this way about other things too. There was, for example, a spiritual element that connected all things that might be considered a chair. Chairs were bound together by their chair characteristics... 3 legged stools could be a sub-category of chairs. He looked at these things as we look at nationalism. That's why I was asking Linda for a source for her comments, they don't appear to be correct or complete to me.

Pete

Pete, I don't recall that Steiner (or anyone in Waldorf Ed) has stated uncategorically that every child should be in a Waldorf School. New schools depend on parent initiative for their founding; there is no organization that says "Lo, and there shall be Waldorf schools in every county in every state of every country!"

Nor do I recall that Steiner ever used the term "spiritual nationalism" anywhere. In fact, he was very outspoken in opposition to nationalism or nationalistic tendencies and would abhor (my opinion based on his voluminous lectures and books) the idea that nationalism would be good if it was somehow "spiritualized"!

He did use the term "folk souls" however, referring to the "group soul" of a people united by culture, language, locality, over-seen or overshadowed
or lead/guided by a spiritual being.

When I was in grade school, we read fairy or folk tales from many other
countries, not just the English, Irish, Scottish, German folk or fairy tales.

I think that most if not all cultures have a treasure trove of folk tales that people have told their children over the millenia. This is part of the rich cultural heritage of ethnic groups. Many of these folk tales include what we call fairies, elemental beings, sprites, house guardians, guardians of the forest and fields and lakes, and so on. These old tales might be said to reflect an earlier stage of human consciousness when we were able to see these beings at work all around us. But we've lost that capacity -- though it seems now that more people are becoming "sensitive" to them and their working again.

When my daughter was quite young, she built houses in the woods in Ireland for the fairies and gnomes and told me she could see them. I've heard this from other parents as well, and not just from Waldorf-oriented parents.

Of course, children don't (and shouldn't) stay in this folk tale consciousness; that's why they go on to map-making, house-building, farming and gardening, baking, and the maths and sciences.

In Ireland today, there are still many traditions that demand respect for the fairies -- and that newcomers break at their peril. I've experienced this myself when I lived there! They call it Tir na nOg - The Land of Youth...

Serena
post #55 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by bean0322
Do you happen to know why they especially don't encourage soccer or martial arts classes in particular? How are these activities any more anti-Waldorf than other sports or activities?
Getting a clear answer on these things is not always possible. But regarding soccer, the usual answer is that Steiner preferred that children do not look downward - as they must do in playing soccer - but instead suggested children should look upward. Steiner didn't like kicking games. That's why in many Waldorf schools we may see basketball teams and volleyball teams but no soccer or football teams. Some Waldorf schools are starting to get away from this because of parent pressure.

Martial arts and even tai chi are considered by some to be working against the important (to Waldorf) Eurythmy instruction. Also people in Waldorf sometimes see martial arts classes and think of robotic movement and thinking. Few will take the time to investigate the spiritual aspects of the martial arts and the beautiful flowing movements that are represented there. Some see only fighting which makes the task of keeping bullying in check even more difficult. I'll look in my files for a letter from our local Eurythmy teacher describing the evils of martial arts and if I can find it I'll post it here.

Pete
post #56 of 114
I just have to say that I'm REALLY glad that there are people like Pete posting an alternate view of Waldorf. The presentation to the public vs. the reality of where the ideas/philosophy actually come from are QUITE different and misleading.

I know so many people who view Waldorf as a more open minded artistic and wholistic education....not realizing that there are pretty strict rules involved.

To my mind, it is doing our children a major disservice to not teach them how to use technology. The internet is so important in our world, to not prepare children (with supervision of course) to use this technology is limiting them IMO.

All this "it influences certain synapses" etc etc. is sketchy research at best. sure you can look at a brain map, but to know what that actually means as far as cognition is NOT CONFIRMED. People look so quickly to brain based stuff, without knowing the actual meaning. My brother was into videogames growing up and it helped him A LOT. He had poor hand eye coordination, and had to go for treatments at the AI Institute. When my dad saw the "therapy" he recognized it was in fact similar to Atari. Problem solved. His spatial abilities are incredible now.

Also, many of my friends learned to read playing Nintendo games like Legend of Zelda. It was motivating and interesting. I think thats great!

Too much of anything is excessive in my opinion. Too much technology is bad...as well as too much living in the dark ages. And yes, I would be LIVID if I sent my kid to a school that was teaching occultism under the table. That is not disclosure or informed consent. Parents are owed more honesty and the schools should be open and honest about the Steiner philosophy. Steiner is not Piaget or Vygotsky...as another parent on here stated. Parents would be wise to question where these ideas came from and on what basis.

XOXO
Beth
post #57 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren
I think people can get into a "fundamentalism" or "pure" stage with Waldorf or anything else, just as you describe. I believe it is a sign of maturity when someone begins to see all the gray areas between the black and white.
As an educator, I can speak to the fact that theory drives practice. This is so key IMO. To recognize, that its not like going to church and deciding that you will take this and leave that. Your children are being taught a dogma here, that you either like or don't but it will influence every aspect of the curriculum. The underlying theory of any school is paramount for this reason. It permeates everything.

XOXO
Beth
post #58 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serena Blaue
Nor do I recall that Steiner ever used the term "spiritual nationalism" anywhere.
Yes, I'm sorry if the quotes implied to you that Steiner used this term. I didn't intend that meaning.

Quote:
In fact, he was very outspoken in opposition to nationalism or nationalistic tendencies and would abhor (my opinion based on his voluminous lectures and books) the idea that nationalism would be good if it was somehow "spiritualized"!
I'm speaking of "spiritual nationalism" in a different sense here - not as a political nationalism but more like a connectedness through a spiritual folk guide (as you describe below). I used the example of chairs to describe this connectedness.

Quote:
He did use the term "folk souls" however, referring to the "group soul" of a people united by culture, language, locality, over-seen or overshadowed or lead/guided by a spiritual being.
Yes, but not, AFAIK, referring to children who have not incarnated. I think the term has been misapplied here.

Quote:
When I was in grade school, we read fairy or folk tales from many other
countries, not just the English, Irish, Scottish, German folk or fairy tales.

I think that most if not all cultures have a treasure trove of folk tales that people have told their children over the millenia. This is part of the rich cultural heritage of ethnic groups. Many of these folk tales include what we call fairies, elemental beings, sprites, house guardians, guardians of the forest and fields and lakes, and so on. These old tales might be said to reflect an earlier stage of human consciousness when we were able to see these beings at work all around us. But we've lost that capacity -- though it seems now that more people are becoming "sensitive" to them and their working again.
I would suggest to you that these old tales are nothing more than old tales. That poeple could once see "these beings" is a speculative flight of fancy I'm not willing to allow as part of my kid's education nor is it something I would appreciate in the people who educate my kids. It's wishful thinking that more people are becoming "sensitive" to seeing these "beings" - and unless you are talking about UFO sightings, how can you suggest that people have lost this sensitivity in one breath but are becoming more sensitive in the next? Ghostwhisperer's notwithstanding, it makes for a great way to put other people down - knowing about things that don't exist. If you want to believe in fairies, that's fine - but I don't think it's healthy to push these ideas onto children who would rather play with real things - even if those real things (dinosaurs) have been dead for millions of years.

Quote:
When my daughter was quite young, she built houses in the woods in Ireland for the fairies and gnomes and told me she could see them. I've heard this from other parents as well, and not just from Waldorf-oriented parents.
There you go...

Quote:
Of course, children don't (and shouldn't) stay in this folk tale consciousness; that's why they go on to map-making, house-building, farming and gardening, baking, and the maths and sciences.
So you are saying that children should have the development of their consciousness manipulated by the people at Waldorf schools who know best what's good for them and when.

Quote:
In Ireland today, there are still many traditions that demand respect for the fairies -- and that newcomers break at their peril. I've experienced this myself when I lived there! They call it Tir na nOg - The Land of Youth...
Just because there's a tradition about something doesn't give it validity, nor does it confirm the existence of things that don't exist. Sorry to be so pragmatic, but pressured belief in fairies doesn't sit too well with me when we are talking about education.

Pete
post #59 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by BethSLP
I just have to say that I'm REALLY glad that there are people like Pete posting an alternate view of Waldorf. The presentation to the public vs. the reality of where the ideas/philosophy actually come from are QUITE different and misleading.
Thanks Beth
Quote:
To my mind, it is doing our children a major disservice to not teach them how to use technology. The internet is so important in our world, to not prepare children (with supervision of course) to use this technology is limiting them IMO.

All this "it influences certain synapses" etc etc. is sketchy research at best. sure you can look at a brain map, but to know what that actually means as far as cognition is NOT CONFIRMED. People look so quickly to brain based stuff, without knowing the actual meaning. My brother was into videogames growing up and it helped him A LOT. He had poor hand eye coordination, and had to go for treatments at the AI Institute. When my dad saw the "therapy" he recognized it was in fact similar to Atari. Problem solved. His spatial abilities are incredible now.
Below is a link to a scientific study by Green and Bavelier, [Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York] that indicates that video game play is not only extremely beneficial to some types of brain development, but increases visual recognition skills by (as I recall) something like 1500%. The page has a link to the entire study - a great read BTW.

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/videog.html

Pete
post #60 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete

I would suggest to you that these old tales are nothing more than old tales. That poeple could once see "these beings" is a speculative flight of fancy I'm not willing to allow as part of my kid's education nor is it something I would appreciate in the people who educate my kids. It's wishful thinking that more people are becoming "sensitive" to seeing these "beings" - and unless you are talking about UFO sightings, how can you suggest that people have lost this sensitivity in one breath but are becoming more sensitive in the next? Ghostwhisperer's notwithstanding, it makes for a great way to put other people down - knowing about things that don't exist. If you want to believe in fairies, that's fine - but I don't think it's healthy to push these ideas onto children who would rather play with real things - even if those real things (dinosaurs) have been dead for millions of years.

Pete
Here's what I observe in Waldorf Schools: a great respect for the cultural history and consciousness of other people, cultures, lands. This is the first and foremost consideration: to encourage children to be world citizens and open to what other human beings and cultures have to offer. This is the opposite of creating narrow, prejudiced people who think their own culture is the center of the universe. Whether the kids believe in fairies or not is secondary -- and not "forced". Human beings, their rich cultures and histories and the stories they tell each other are part of any good education.

Waldorf students will get tons of practical education about "real things".

You may not get away from your engineering desk enough, Pete! There are increasing numbers of people who have unusual perceptions these days.
Some of them may even be real!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PETE
So you are saying that children should have the development of their consciousness manipulated by the people at Waldorf schools who know best what's good for them and when.
Pete
The word "manipulated" is really inflammatory, Pete, and in my experience creates a false picture of WE.

When I was a kid, we had folk tales in school, and studied the Babylonian,
Egyptian, Greek and Roman cultures through the grades. And this was an ordinary elementary school. I doubt you would argue against the study of other cultures -- even though you might say they contained elements of what we today would call "ignorance" or lack of knowledge of what today we call "reality". Think of your marvelous Greek heritage that gave the world Greek myths!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PETE
Just because there's a tradition about something doesn't give it validity, nor does it confirm the existence of things that don't exist. Sorry to be so pragmatic, but pressured belief in fairies doesn't sit too well with me when we are talking about education.
Pete
In YOUR opinion, Pete!

But perhaps in your house you didn't talk about the Tooth Fairy or about Santa coming down the chimney at Christmas -- fantasy stories that most children grow up with and happily move beyond when they are ready.

I think that we can learn from traditional wisdom sources from other cultures. Of course, parents who reject magical folk tales will have a hard time in today's culture where we celebrate fantasy stories in the most varied and imaginative ways -- if you consider what sorts of stories are coming out for kids in movie land: Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings being two of the most obvious examples. Or the animated film "Spirit" or any of the incredible martial arts movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

Have you prevented your children from seeing any of these movies on the basis that they are about things that don't exist? Are you lobbying Hollywood for creating these non-reality-based films?

Lighten up a little!

Serena
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